Amy Jo Cousins

Books: Romance | Queer

Five Dates (2015), Glass Tidings (2016)

Five Dates (2015)

Five DatesDevin has been too busy for more than random hook-ups since he and his little sister were thrown out of their parents' house: her for being a pregnant and him for being gay.

Anger had mellowed into a general apathy and coldness after ten years, but little things could still bring him back in an instant to that afternoon of anger and fear and an overwhelming protectiveness. All of which had been followed swiftly by panic and nausea when he realized that he was totally responsible for the eighteen-year-old pregnant girl who helped him pack up his car with their combined belongings.

Ten years later Lucy seems to have decided that Devin has been along long enough, and after winning a bet orders him to go on five dates she sets up for him.

This was cute, and I'm always a sucker for a sibling drama.

Devin knows the first date is going to go badly when Lucy tells him the picture she used was more than a decade old. Which is too bad, because the guy is really cute.

This was a fun novella. Light and low angst even if there was some boinking.

Rating: 7/10

Glass Tidings (2016)

Glass TidingsEddie Rodrigues is back on the road, heading to Texas–like he should have in the first place. But a breakdown and then witnessing a hit and run leaves him stuck in the small town of Clear Lake, an unwelcome guest of a man who owns a Christmas shop.

Grayson Croft is the town recluse. He tried being in love once and it didn't work out, so now works in his shop for the holidays and reads his science fiction books and works on his house. He doesn't want a guest, but he can't turn away a blood soaked stranger who just witnessed a hit-and-run, so… how long could this be?

Eddie spent his childhood in a group home. It wasn't a good childhood, but it could have been a lot worse. Though it did leave him unwilling to trust people and some not particularly healthy coping skills.

It was like Eddie couldn't relax until he knew what made someone lose their shit. Once he found that out, he could chill. That's where the land mines are. Cool.

But despite that he has his own set of ethics he follows–even if his standards don't especially make sense to Gray.

"If you sell someone on something they don't want, you're an asshole." Eddie's voice was knife-sharp. "I don't do that."

What the two of them have in common is a love of reading and science fiction.

(T)here was a laundromat by his favorite early spring faire that had one of those Take a Book, Leave a Book library shelves, and Eddie looked forward to holding a real book in his hands again every April— but knowing he couldn't take anything with him on the road made it easier to let things go.

I may not be a SF reader, but I did recognize most of the books they talked about, including the book that was the first dystopia I heard (and (sorry) hated).

There is always a lot of talk about unrealistic body expectations in books, so I very much liked Eddie's appreciation of Gray.

Eddie liked men whose bodies were lived in. Strong where they needed to be, but sometimes soft too, because who had time for gyms when there were lives to be lived? Men with big arms and a little cushion on their bellies made Eddie feel safe. Those men had enough to eat and plenty of work and both of those things had been un-fucking-certain in Eddie's life for a very long time.

A reminder that standards of beauty can (and should) be very personal.

All-in-all a lovely story with a gorgeous cover which is one of the things that first drew me eye to the book.